13 April 2006

PokerPlex Went Awry

Egads. I decided to finish this bonus this morning before going to breakfast with my dad. It went none too well. I was never up. I played some 1/2 and 2/4, both in pounds. I should have seen the writing on the wall. I had QQ, flop came Q83, and I lost to A5o who caught running 2 then 4 for the pot. Ugly. I cleared the $50 monthly, but lost $83.83 in the process. So much for breaking even here. Lost $33.83 today after adding in the bonus and the little more than $8 I was ahead.

After breakfast, I came back and decided to go to Ultimate Bet and play a few hours. I stayed there for 4 hours. At the $1/$2 tables there, I'll clear a little more than $2 in bonus each hour. Indeed, when I finished up, I had cleared $8.70. One of the good things about UB is that any amount of bonus you clear at each table goes directly into your playable account as soon as you leave the table. I finished up $15.75, so with the bonus, up $24.45.

Back-to-back losing days, but if I lose less than $10, I don't feel too bad.

Today's Total: -$9.38.

12 April 2006

A PokerPlex Day

First off, I'd like to thank my friends from ITH [Internet Texas Holdem; you can find the link on the right hand side of my blog], Patch and Cybrarian, who showed me a nice little trick for bringing up the notes function at the Cryptologic sites. Double-clicking on the player placard brings up the note-page on that player. This is a real time-saver and has proven to be a real boon to my play over the past few days. Thanks again guys.

Today, I decided to put in as many hands as I could at PokerPlex. With a monthly $50 bonus, PokerPlex is a decent bonus to work on. The requirement is 250 MPPs. MPPs stand for "My Player Points". You receive 1MPP for every pot raked at $1 [or £ or euro] or higher. You receive 1/4 of an MPP, for every pot raked at $.25 to $.99. Pots raked lower earn no MPPs. The good news is, that no pots in fixed limit rake lower than $.25. Therefore, nominally, every MPP at PokerPlex is worth 20 cents. It would seem that here at PokerPlex that it's monthly bonus is a 5x bonus, but that is misleading. You could pay $.75 in rake four times and get only 1 MPP. That's right, $3 in total rake could equal one pot that managed to rake $1. They changed this so that those people at the really low-limit tables would have a chance to work off the bonus. It takes about 16 table hours to work off the $50 here at PokerPlex at 1/2 fixed limit. Double that at .50/1. This works out to be about a 6x bonus at 1/2, and 12x at .50/1. Neither are bad, but obviously, if you can chase at 1/2, you should do so.

When I started the day, I had already accumulated 107 MPPs, so I was attempting to put as big a dent in the rest as I could today, so that I would be able to finish it tomorrow. Tables here at PokerPlex were vaccilating all day. Starting up, closing down, moving between great tables to play on and absolutely wretched ones. I ended up playing here in three definable sessions.

  • I started this morning a little bit before 10AM. I found a decent £1/£2 table. I started off very well, up £26 in a short 20 minutes. I managed to flop a fullhouse and get paid off plus a few top pairs. It was short-lived. As would be my modus operandi today, I couldn't hit a draw. When the day finished, I missed all 10 fourflushes [9 holding the Ace], and 7 openend straightdraws. To make matters worse, I flopped 9 sets and lost 7 of them. Did I tell you it got ugly? Down $77.45, at noon, I decided it was time for lunch.
  • After lunch, I went looking for the same table, but they had tighted up considerably, so I decided to play at the £.50/£1 tables because even though they were slower to earn MPPs, they were much looser. I was right. In a little less than 2 hours, I managed to get $36.81 back before the tables started to collapse, and I noticed that the £1/£2 tables were re-emerging and getting looser. Tends to do that when the Brits get sleepier and sleepier!
  • My move to the higher tables, started off very slow, and I was going through swings of down 10BB and up 7 BB. I was getting ready to leave as they were feeling very tight. Then a beautiful thing happened. Two tight players left, and were replaced with the biggest fish I had seen there in a very long time. A few more tightish players left and were replaced by more loose players. Before I knew it, there were two players who were 75% of the hands and a few more who were playing about 40%. Don't get me wrong. I took some serious beats during this stretch, but when I won a pot, I won a POT! Unfortunately, quitting time was fast approaching. I needed to get dinner started. Breaded porkchops. Takes about an hour to prepare. So I logged off. Another $32.63 made back.
  • I played the entire day here at PokerPlex. I managed to add 113 MPPs to the total of 107 I had earned earlier in the week. I now stand at 220 MPPs. This means it will take about 3-4 hours tomorrow to finish up and claim my $50 bonus. Then I can move on to Holdem Poker and finish my $75 bonus chase there. Take a break from the Cryptos, and then start Sun Poker either Friday or Monday.
  • So far I have managed to win $8.72 chasing this bonus. Not a great result, but a lot better than losing money and needing your bonus to cover your losses. Hopefully tomorrow will see me make a little more and add the bonus to it. I'm not complaining. I've managed to win $141 plus clear $150 in bonuses here since January. If I just break even tomorrow, I will have successfully grown my bankroll at PokerPlex by $341 this year. Not bad considering I have been playing .50/1 and 1/2.

Today's total: -$8.01

11 April 2006

New Changes

I know, I'm all over the place with my decisions, but I really needed to find what might work. A few weeks back, I changed from NL to fixed limit. I am convinced this is the right move. The skillsets between the two are very different, and I couldn't see abandoning my FL roots just because I was running bad. My switch was ugly, however. I continued to lose at an alarming rate, and even bonus money wasn't enough to cover my losses at FL. I really started questioning whether I should even be playing poker any more. I was losing at every table, every site and almost every session. Before going onto my latest change, I want to go over what I did earn in bonuses. I got some real sweet deals:

Fulltilt: On 4/1, I got an email from the VIP department at Fulltilt. They offered me a choice between some FT Gear or $100, if I made a deposit and earned 300 Fulltilt Points. This was an incredible offer. In order to earn the 300 FT Points, I had to be dealt cards in enough hands to where a total of $300 was raked from tables I was playing on. So early last week, I deposited $300 to chase this bonus at the $1/$2 FL tables. It took 921 hands to clear enough points to satisfy the requirements. I already have the gear I wanted at FT, so I went after the $100. The average bonus out there clears at about 7xhands/bonus to 10xhands/bonus. Meaning, that for every $1 you earn in bonuses, you have to participate in 7 or 10 raked hands. Initial Party/Empire bonuses are 5x bonuses, which are phenomenal. 10x is acceptable and is generally a decent bonus. This FT bonus was simply incredible. At 921 hands this bonus figured to be a 3.07x bonus. This is, without a doubt, the best bonus I have ever received.

Party: Party swallowed Intertops, PokerNOW and Multipoker last week. They also moved Empire onto their platform, so now, Empire and Party share the same tables and players. When they did this, I had a measly 88 cents in my Intertops account. I decided to see what would happen if I attempted to log-on to Intertops. Well, what it did was take me to Party, where I filled out a form to transfer the 88 cents to my Party account. I had recently lost what little I had at Party, so when I logged onto Party, I expected to have the cashier show me an account balance of 88 cents. Not quite! Party put $25 into my account, with the stipulation that I had 10 days to accumulate 250 raked hands. So I played off the raked hands, and profited by $5.50. So another sweet little bonus.

Against $166 in losses last week, I managed only $88 in bonuses. However, I got the $100 Fulltilt bonus credited today.

So what's the big change? I have decided that multi-tabling isn't working out. I'm finding that I am relying more on Poker Tracker[PT] and GameTime Plus[GT+] while multi-tabling than anything, and it doesn't allow me anything but sub-optimal reads at the tables. It is impossible to take notes at a level I need to in order to keep up with the idiosyncrasies of the players. Although initially I thought it was going to bore me out of my skull, I actually enjoy taking these notes, getting a good read on my opponents, and making the right decisions at the table. So, Sunday, I started the process of designing shorthand for my note-taking, and started single-tabling. One thing I need to mention is that I play at each site with 150 Big Bets [BB], rather than 300 BB. I do this because I currently have a little more than $4K in my bankroll, which, considering I am playing mostly $.50/$1 and $1/$2, figures out to be 2000-4000 BB total. Since I don't play at just one site, my chance of ruining my bankroll is virtually nil, considering I will drop down a limit on any one site, if it comes to this. The other decision I made was to stop moving money around to take advantage of all the reloads. The reasons are quite simple:

  • It requires me to have $500-$1000 available to do so. This was too much money to have sitting idly waiting for reloads. Money that couldn't be used for other poker purposes.
  • The constant movement of money almost ensured that I would never progress past the current $1/$2 level at any site, as I was constantly moving all but around $300 out of each site once the reload bonus was finished.
  • I already have $2500 in bonuses pending, plus the monthly Cryptologic bonuses which add up to around $225 each month. A little over $1900 of this is Ultimate Bet bonuses. I want to work UB down to about $1000 pending, and clear up the other bonuses before starting to reload again. If I can finish this by the end of June, I will have cleared around $2100 plus any profit, and increased my sites to where some of them will be capable of allowing me to progress to $2/$4 or higher. Once I can start playing higher, where my profits will also be higher, then I can return to start chasing reload bonuses and start chasing new initial deposit bonuses.

I know my work is cut out for me, but I think I can attain these short-term goals, and get myself back onto the right track towards making a good earnrate each month. My long-term goal is to be able to play $5/$10 at a few of my sites.

So, where do I stand so far?

Sunday, 4/8. I played around 4.5 hours of $1/$2 FL at PokerStars. I made $32 in the process. That's about 3.5BB per hour, which is darned good. I moved over to the Gaming Club for an hour and lost $1.50 playing $.10/$.20. Not so good. I need to plunk an extra $100 in here to make my bankroll because I don't want to wallow here or Royal Vegas [another site where I have a sub-$150 bankroll]. Doing so will allow me to play $.50./$1 at each, which should allow me to progress to $1/$2 that much quicker.

Monday 4/9. Great day. I got my $100 Fulltilt bonus, and for the first time in a long time, actually made more money playing for the day than I received in a bonus:

  • I started the day playing at PokerPlex. I need 250 MPPs, which takes about 1000-1200 hands to complete. So, time to get started. Problem is, traffic and good table selection was really horrid at the levels I am comfortable with. I decided to take a stab at $2/$4, despite only having $100 here. I played an hour, before the table started turning bad. I finished up $20, or 5BB.
  • After returning from the grocery store, I decided to go to Holdem Poker [a Pokerroom skin]. With $75 and $100 bonuses pending, I decided to play here a bit. With only $237.60 here, I stayed within my 150BB rule and played $.50/$1. I realized I would earn a lot of points toward my bonus, but I decided being safe was better, especially considering I have over a month to complete both bonuses. I had a fantastic one hour session, before my table broke up. I couldn't fins one that was as good, so I left up $30.45. Yeah, an unheard of 30BB/hour rate. Wow!
  • After fixing lunch, I settled into Paradise Poker , where I still had $20 in bonus pending. Once again, due to my bankroll limits here, I sat at a $.50/$1 table. I played 3 hours, cleared $10 of my bonus and made another $44.50. Another fantastic session. I only stopped because I had been keeping my eye on another Crypto [Sun Poker], so that I could start that monthly bonus chase.
  • So, finding a juicy $.50/$1 table at Sun, I settled down to finish my pokerday until my wife came home. This gave me an hour and a half to play here. I made another $19.88 before leaving.

So, for the day I made $124.83 at the tables, and received my $100 bonus from Fulltilt. Fantastic!

Tuesday, 4/11. Today didn't go as well. Back at the Gaming Club, I managed to lose a further $5.41. Not good. I am wallowing here. Playing 3.5 hours, I couldn't get anything going. Perfect example was raising preflop with AQs, and flopping QQ2. However, this was a big loser, as my lone caller had 22! Ouch. I quit Gaming Club at noon, and ate lunch.

When I finished lunch I returned to the tables, but went to PokerPlex, to work off some more hands towards the monthly $50 bonus. Once again, I had to play over my bankroll limit. There were just too many loose tables at the 1/2 pounds tables. So I settled into one. I made little more less than 17 pounds before the table started breaking up. this worked out to a little more than $29. I then moved down to a .50/1 pound table . I finished my day here, playing 2.5 hours, and only finishing up $1.13. A very poor playing fish kept laughing at me when his cheesy hands held up and he won some money. He kept it up, and despite being down, I landed a huge pot when my AKs flopped AKx. I got the pot capped on the flop, then kept betting into 3 callers, and ended up winning a huge pot [25BB]. The poor playing fish wasn't in it but I thought it quite funny when he typed how lucky I got in the chat box. My only reply was, "Indeed. Best hand on the flop held up. Quite lucky." This brought out a lot of "LOLs" from the others at the table. He kept needling me. I wasn't about to educate. my opponents? 65s in my suit, A6o and KQs. I was 84% to win with that flop. Yeah, I got lucky!

Despite not equaling yesterday's results, I'm quite happy averaging about a BB/hour. I know it is early in my change, but why not look at this optimistically? I am doing quite well right now. I'm owing it to being able to really watch the table, taking notes and establishing very good reads on my opponents. I think, that if I can continue to maintain this level of focus, that my downturns in the future will be both shorter and less damaging than they were in the past.

06 April 2006

Things are a-changing.

Party Poker

Seems Party has made a lot of changes lately. I ran into a lot of problems there this week. How do you lose to the fish there? Sometimes all you need to do is show up. I got sucked out by so many incredibly horrible players, that I lost the $125 I had there.

Then, according to friends and a few websites, Party liquidated PokerNOW and Multipoker, and gave their players a "Welcome to Party", bonus and transferred their accounts over. Now it appears they have moved Empire over to Party's tables as well. I have accounts at Party, Empire and Intertops. What is to happen to my accounts?

I just wish they would allow cashouts via FirePay. I am still stumped that they allow deposits, but not withdrawals.


I dropped Fulltilt last June. At the time the traffic was mediocre, the initial deposit bonus was complete, and there was no Poker Tracker support. On Saturday the 1st of April, they offered me a sweet deal. $100 bonus for 300 Fulltilt Points. It didn't take too long to accomplish; just a little over 12 hours. Of course, the email said they will get to me within 72 hours of completing the Fulltilt Point requirements, but I have no reason to doubt them. I managed to lose $16.50 in the process, but I am not worried about that. Now that there is Poker Tracker support, and the traffi chas picked up [and the players have gotten worse], I think I won't mind playing here. So I loaded $300 into FT. We'll see how it pans out.


I'm going to slow down on reloading for bonuses over the next couple of months. I have over $2, 400 pending in bonuses now, and this constant withdraw/deposit cycle I am goign through isn't allowing me to build up my bankroll and move to higher limits. Unless I see an incredibly sweet deal, I am going to hold off on reloading, and concentrate on clearing what I already have.